Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Barcelona City Council

Site Menu


  • Cubism and war. The crystal in the flame

    • Open to the public: from October 20th 2016 to January 29th 2017
    • Curated by: Christopher Green
    • Production: Museu Picasso
    • The exhibition focuses on the survival of the European artistic avant-garde who had settled in Paris during the First World War (1914-1918), and their response to the anxiety, pain and danger signified by this major conflict: the development of an artistic movement that built on cubist aesthetics incorporating architectural elements, based on stability and wholeness.
    • The main artists of the exhibition are three foreigners living in France, and who, as such, were unable to take part directly in the military campaign: Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Diego Rivera. The exhibition will also explore the important role of other artists in similar circumstances, such as María Blanchard, Gino Severini and Jacques Lipchitz; and that of French artists who for various reasons couldn’t join in the fight, as was the case of Henri Laurens and Henri Matisse, who produced some of their most experimental works during this period.
    • Although the emphasis of the exhibition will be placed on the non-fighting artists and their creative evolution, the artistic response of the two major cubist artists who survived the action in the trenches, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger, will also be explored.
    • The exhibition will present a selection of around 80 works produced between 1913 and 1919. The clear interconnections of the avant-garde in the Paris from before the war will emerge strongly, as well as the consolidation of the discoveries that took place during the war, evidenced through the artworks produced during and after it was over.
    • The wartime period of 1914-1918 resulted in an art which was the product of the suffering of the soldiers in the trenches, but in France this group of artists in the rearguard responded by unifying what had been a burst of energy, linked to the avant-garde prior to the war. A highly creative and positive response to the need for reasserting the way towards the construction of a context of mechanization of the war – a need whose reparative urgency was both deep and intense.
    • The evolution of cubism in the Great War -and even more so, of the movement in Paris under the imminent threat of chaos-, towards control, coherence and integrity turned out to be still relevant today, nearly a century later.
  • If you would like to receive information about the exhibitions and activities at the Museu Picasso, please subscribe to e-news here.